plugged pipe? Options

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Old 05-03-03, 01:33 PM
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plugged pipe? Options

Any advice on my 'next option' is appreciated.

My modest one-storey house is 48 years old. The upstairs sink was plugged...from very slow drainage to being plugged completely. I cut off the PVC trap under the sink (next posting will be how to glue new one on!!)...anyways...trap not blocked. Pipe (metal) down to basement not blocked. So I went to the basement and found where the sink pipe (goes straight down) enters basement floor. There is a clean out plug there.


All the other plumbing in the house is on the other side. All is draining fine. The house is about 40 feet long. I used a snake (round metal drumb-one that looks like a tommy gun). A believe the snake is 50 feet long. I snaked, with effort, the full length. I've done this twice. All I've got out is a inky black goo. Not very much of anything else came out. . This pipe is still blocked.

Question: what is this black goo and should I be concerned about it? If I run the snake through a couple more times, does this help or should it have unclogged the pipe the first time?

Also, since the trap is off the sink and the pipe has no pressure from above, and thus outside vent is not connected, could this effect the pipe going under the basement floor not draining?

One more question, please. If snaking doesn't help or some other recommended solution,do the snakes used by rotorouter, a plumber, etc. do a better job? What will they do that I can't?

Thanks for any help. I should leave these forums half my estate when I pass on...they have saved me a lot of money and aggravation. There is something satisfying about doing a job oneself.
 
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Old 05-03-03, 01:48 PM
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Cool

You don't need to glue a PVC trap on. Get one with slip nuts and washers, and you can hand-tighten it on.
You need to get a longer snake to unclog the line in order to flush out the black goo. You also might want to try a jug of DrainCare. It is a non-caustic enzyme-based drain cleaner. You pour it in, let it eat overnight, and then flush it out wiht very hot water.
The sink drain vent is after the trap (probably straight up in the wall), so the vent should be o.k.
Good Luck!
Mike
 
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Old 05-03-03, 03:43 PM
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Thanks for the help, Oldguy!

Do I pour the drain cleaner into the clean-out plug (in basement) or pour it into the sink after I put a new trap on?

Also, does that trap you recommmend need to go on threaded pipe? I sawed the old trap off with a hacksaw and there are no threads on the pipe.

Would the 'clog' that is blocking the drain probably be at the point where the pipe enters another pipe on the other side of the basement floor? Are clogs almost always at junctions?
 
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Old 05-03-03, 07:01 PM
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Sinks that go from slow to no drainage over time are rarely ever clogged at a junction... They just grow closed over time and could have a stoppage from a couple feet to a couple dozen feet... The "black sludge" is actually the whole problem more than likely... It is just old organic gunk that can be cleared up over time with enzyme type buildup removers, but most certainly should have been cleared with the snaking... I don't believe you ruled out the very first source for a clog however... Did you look down the drain from the sink after you cut the trap loose? That is the first place a clog will usually get it's start... Lots of hair and such... After that point, you should run the snake through the arm where you cut the trap... That should definitely unstop a lavatory, because once the water gets to the vertical run, it RARELY stops up... It will 99% of the time be in the horizontal run as it heads over to the stack... The stack it meets goes up as well as down, and thus serves as both drain and vent... You mention that it was not connected to the vent, and I didn't quite understand that, but it sounds like it is run correctly, so don't confuse yourself by looking too hard for venting... It should be fine...

Give an update when you can...
 
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Old 05-03-03, 07:35 PM
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Thanks.

I first cut off the trap thinking (incorrectly) it was an issue there or where it meets the down drain. The drain from the sink down to the basement is fine.

When I wrote above 'not connected to the stack', I was wrong in this. I looked again and the trap is off but the stack continues 'up' and the drain 'down'

It is the pipe horizontal (runs under) the basement that is probably plugged. I snaked this and get black goo. The water sits in this pipe and I can see the water when I look into the clean out plug hole. I'm wondering if water just sits in this pipe all the time, even if it is not plugged? Do I have to put the trap back on under the sink and run some water down the drain to get the drain flowing? Does it need this pressure?

Thanks for your patience.
 
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Old 05-03-03, 07:41 PM
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Well, I guess what I am asking is how you know that the line is good down to the basement? How can you tell that without the trap hooked back up? How do you know that the horizontal over to the stack is okay? If it is then, yes, you should run the snake down at the cleanout you can see... Then you can run water in the cleanout behind the snake to get some flow and see how the drainage is going... Use a hose or bucket if necessary...
 
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Old 05-03-03, 08:08 PM
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Thanks.

Yes, I ran a garden hose in beyond the trap and it flows okay from the sink down to the basement clean-out plug.

The clog seemed to be under the floor of the basement, the horizontal run. I snaked this horizontal pipe but the water is still visible in the pipe. I see it sitting in the clean-out-hole.

Could I have cleared out the problem but not know it unless I replace the trap and use water pressure from the sink to run down the horizontal pipe to the basement?

I'm wondering if visible water can sit in the horizontal pipe even if it isn't plugged. Would the water have 'whooshed' out if I had unplugged the clog using the snake? Leaving the horizontal pipe empty?

I guess what I'm asking is whether I could have cleared the clog without knowing it? I need to get a new trap and glue it on (a new adventure) to run water down the drain.

Boy, I have a new respect for plumbers. It is all about 'logic'. There are so many configurations of pipes, fittings, 'doodads', etc. when I walk around Home Depot. It takes an organized mind to wade through a plumbing challenge.
 
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Old 05-03-03, 09:31 PM
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Cool

A PVC trap with slip nuts and washers fits over unthreaded pipe, and can be hand-tightened to seal. The slip nuts-and-washers are a compression fitting.
Replace the trap and the clean-out plug, and use the DrainCare to clean out the black organic gunk.
The only place that visible water should stand anywhere in the drain/waste/vent system is in traps.
Good Luck!
Mike
 
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